Celebrating Red, White & Blue Baker’s Style

4th of july red velvet coverHappy Independence Day!  I definitely don’t need an excuse to bake, however, 4th of July gave me a reason to theme it!  Red velvet with cream cheese frosting is one of my favorite desserts.  Since it’s already red, it make perfect sense to make this for the 4th!

I wanted to make a relatively healthy dessert (remember strawberries, blueberries and cool whip would have made for a much healthier 4th dessert).  It had to be something new and yummy.  I got this idea from Pinterest from the blog No Thanks to Cake (<– LOVE THAT NAME!).  I made it a little healthier and used my own red velvet recipe, not a box.

This is such a rich, yummy and fun dessert I will definitely make it again… perhaps themed for Christmas or Valentine’s Day! 🙂  I’m calling this Red Velvet Poke Cake (for lack of a better name).

4th of july red velve mixFor the Red Velvet Cake:  Mix the following ingredients in a large bowl-  1 1/2 cups all purpose flour, 1 cup sugar, 1/3 cup unsweetened cocoa powder, 1 tsp baking soda and 1/2 tsp salt. 

In a separate small bowl, mix the following ingredients: 1 cup fat free buttermilk, 6 tbsp corn oil, 1 tbsp. white vinegar, 2 tsp vanilla, 2 tsp red food coloring.

Mix the wet and dry mixtures until fully combined.  Pour into a 13″ x 9″ baking dish.  Bake at 350 degrees for 25-30 minutes.

4th of july red velvet bake

Meanwhile, you can make the second layer. This is key to get the red velvet cream cheese frosting taste!  Make 1 package of fat free, sugar free cheesecake pudding.  Prepare according to package instructions but don’t mix for as long.  The Pudding should not set completely.

4th of july red velvet cheesecake

When the cake is done, let cool almost completely.  Then, using the handle of a wooden spoon (or similar size), poke the cake!  Yes – fun part! (see- the name Red Velvet Poke Cake is not creative at all.)  Poke many holes.  This will allow the cheesecake pudding to go into the cake. (note: my end cake had a ton more holes than below.  The more the better!)

4th of july red velvet. poke

Then pour the pudding over the top of the mixture.  Cover and refrigerate for a few hours.  I made this last night and it was perfect today!

4th of july red velvet pudding

The top layer is fat free cool whip with a little bit of blue food coloring. Spread 1 tub of cool whip over entire cake.  Top with crumbled  Oreos. Oreos are the perfect topper for this.  It looks yummy and tastes so good.  I think Oreos are the only packaged cookies I will eat.  With that said, they are a must in recipes!  Confession: By the time I got to the top of the cake to add Oreos, one whole section of the Oreo box may have been almost completely gone…

4th of july red velvet bite

The end result was a super delish, moist, rich cake.  The healthier substitutes don’t alter the taste at all! In fact, knowing this makes it even better.

Did you try any new recipes for the 4th?  What are some classic foods always on your table for Independence Day?

Bon Appetite!

Stop – it’s baking time!

The best way for me to stop and smell the roses, per se, is to stop the hectic day-to-day craziness and smell the cupcakes baking in the oven.  Seriously.  Baking is always a new challenge but at the same time so relaxing and rewarding (if there’s a cupcake at the end, that’s my #1 reward. Always!)  I love the smell of sugar, flour, butter and chocolate all mixing together and baking.  Sort of like the smell of a bakery… OMGOSH I could smell that all day!  But if I did, I would be in serious trouble with my doctor, and dentist! Yikes!

RV piece

Still recovering from my trip last weekend and trying to gear up for Blue Ridge, GA tomorrow (or today?!) I decided I needed to stop and smell the cupcakes.  In honor of our trip, I made red velvet cupcakes with cream cheese frosting (this is on my top favs list).  I’ve been playing around with different recipes for red velvet, and I think I finally found the PERFECT one.  It’s simple and delicious.

For the cupcakes (makes 30 regular size), you will need:  3/4 cup butter, 2 cups sugar, 3 eggs, 3.5 tbsp red food coloring, 1.5 tbsp vanilla (yes-1.5 tbsp!), 2 3/4 cup all purpose flour, 2/3 cup unsweetened cocoa, 1 tbsp baking powder, 3/4 tsp baking soda, 1/4 tsp salt, 1 1/2 cup buttermilk.

First beat the butter until creamy. Add sugar and eggs.  Add red food coloring and vanilla.

RV mix

In a separate bowl, whisk flour, cocoa, baking powder, baking soda and salt.  Pour the flour mixture into the butter mixture, alternating with buttermilk and scraping down the sides.  Once the batter is fully mixed, fill 30 lined and floured/sprayed cupcake tins about 3/4 full.  The batter will be think.

Bake at 350 degrees for 20-24 minutes.

RV Raw

The frosting used is my classic cream cheese frosting.  This time I used regular cream cheese instead of light and I didn’t taste a difference. 

Ingredients: 2 sticks (1 cup butter), 12 oz cream cheese, 1 tsp vanilla, 4 – 5 cups powdered sugar.  

Mix all ingredients together and enjoy! 

RV Frosting

I LOVE cream cheese frosting.  I think that’s why I am such a fan of Rev Velvet and Carrot.   I frosted one for myself, just one (I PROMISE!), and enjoyed every bite of it!  I’m going to decorate the rest of cupcakes tomorrow evening from Blue Ridge so I’ll post pictures of the decorated cupcakes soon!

So clearly, baking is one of my destress tactics.  What do you do to destress?

Bon Appetite!


On the forth day of Christmas, my KitchenAid gave to me…

4 Layer Red Velvet Cake

3 Dozen Cookies

2 Dozen Reindeer

And a Cream Cheese Bonanza Caaaake 

Today is the 4th day of my KitchenAid baking adventure and today tops all others.  If asked what my favorite cake is, it’s hard for me to pick just one.  I love carrot cake with cream cheese icing, red velvet is amazing and I can always eat anything chocolate!   Clearly, I have a ridiculous sweet tooth!!

Today’s cake is a 4 layer (yes 4!) red velvet cake with coconut cream cheese frosting.  As you will see in the pictures, today’s cake is inspired by #1 – my obsession with red velvet + cream cheese, and #2 – my family and the Jacksonville Ski Club out in Breckenridge.  Since the baking thing is a family tradition, they will be the inspiration to most of the desserts!

Red Velvet Cake Ingredients:

  • 3/4 cup butter
  • 2 cups sugar
  • 3 eggs
  • 3 tbsp red food coloring (liquid)
  • 1 tbsp vanilla
  • 2  3/4 cup flour
  • 1/2 cup unsweeted cocoa
  • 1 tbsp baking powder
  • 3/4 tsp baking soda
  • 1/4 tsp sal
  • 1  1/2 cup buttermilk

Coconut Cream Cheese Frosting

  • 2 packages cream cheese (8oz)
  • 1 cup butter
  • 1/2 tsp coconut extract (or vanilla will work too!)
  • 8 cups confectioner’s sugar
  • 4 cups sweetened shredded coconut

Directions for Cake:

  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees.  Grease and flour four  8 inch round cake pans.
  2. Beat butter in your KitchenAid mixer until light and fluffy.  Add sugar and add eggs one at a time.
  3. Add red food coloring and vanilla.  Mix until well blended.
  4. In a separate bowl, whisk flour, cocoa, baking powder, baking soda and salt.  Add to butter mixture and alternate with buttermilk.
  5. Batter will be think so soon into the 4 cake pans.
  6. Bake for 18-20 minutes, rotating half way through.
  7. Cool completely on wire racks before frosting.

Directions for Frosting: Beat butter and cream cheese until smooth.  Add coconut extract.  Gradually add confectioner’s sugar followed by coconut.  ***this makes about 8 cups and I had about 3 cups left over.  I will use in another recipe.  If you like less icing, you might want to half this.***

I have so many leftovers right now so if anyone wants a sample, let me know!  i decided I’m not going to cut into this cake for a few days.  I’ll post pictures of the inside later.

Do you have any Christmas cooking traditions?  Comment on what they are!

And remember, never leave the kitchen with a clean apron!

Today I used both Willow and Stach to make the cake batter and frosting.  Using both of them increased my efficiency! Lots of dry ingredients in this one… and a lot of food coloring.  Some people don’t know that red velvet actually have chocolate in it.  I think that’s why it’s a great pair with white chocolate on the top.  (Publix actually have a really tasty red velvet cupcake in the bakery!)  My other favorite places around Jax… Edgewood Bakery, Gilmon’s Bakery and Luli’s Cupcakes.

Red Velvet Cake + Coconut Cream Cheese Frosting dry ingredients dry part 2 final batter mixing step

Make sure to use 8inch round cake pans.  9 inches will make the layers too think.  This recipe would also make GREAT cupcakes!

4 8" round pans 20 minutes later!

Frosting!!  I LOVE cream cheese frosting so much so I was excited to add some variety.  The coconut makes the frosting look a little more like snow piles.

coconut cream cheese frosting mmm mmm good!

3 layers…. 4 layers…. It’s a cake!

layer 3 4 layer cake!

Bird’s eye view.  Now the real question is… who is the skier?

bird's eye view 4 layer red velvet cake red velvet